93 results for “Nongenetic Evolution”

Meet Emma: Your colleague of the future comes with a warning

Freya Hutchings
October 29th 2019

Emma is in poor health. She has painful varicose veins, stress-related eczema, puffy skin, a grey complexion, red eyes and a hunch-back. She is an imagined office worker of the future — a morbid life-sized doll that forecasts the impact of office work on human evolution. According researchers at Fellowes, if we don’t do something, Emma could resemble most of your colleagues in 20-years time.


Indeed, Emma embodies the evolutionary impact of our current work culture on the human body. Apparently, …

On the Origin of the Smartphone

Huub Ehlhardt
February 6th 2019

The first patent for the electric telephone was granted in 1876 to Alexander Graham Bell. However, there is disagreement about who should be given credit for the invention of the telephone as several pioneering inventors worked on devices to transmit spoken word.

In the following decades the network systems of landlines were built and use of telephones spread. The first telephones used were simple wooden boxes to which a speaker and mouthpiece were connected. From the initial box designs, the

On the origin of the LED lamp

Huub Ehlhardt
January 12th 2019

For thousands of years people used oil lamps and candles to illuminate their homes during the hours of darkness. Neither produced much light and both were inconvenient in use as their fuel needed to be regularly replenished. Besides that, open fire is notoriously dangerous. Then, at the start of the 19th century, gas lamps fueled by coal-gas distributed by a network of pipes turned out to be an innovative solution for the problem of illuminating the streets of European cities. …

The real-life gruesome experiments that inspired Frankenstein

Iwan Morus
December 29th 2018

On January 17 1803, a young man named George Forster was hanged for murder at Newgate prison in London. After his execution, as often happened, his body was carried ceremoniously across the city to the Royal College of Surgeons, where it would be publicly dissected. What actually happened was rather more shocking than simple dissection though. Forster was going to be electrified.

The experiments were to be carried out by the Italian natural philosopher Giovanni Aldini, the nephew of Luigi …

Interview: Huub Ehlhardt on the evolution of products

Kelly Streekstra
September 14th 2018

"To understand why a product is the way it is today, you need to learn about its evolutionary background." Meet Huub Ehlhardt, an engineer with a PhD in product design. Huub believes that innovation is best not described as a sequence of disruptive inventions, but as a gradual evolution of products. Together with Arthur Eger, he wrote On the Origin of Products; The Evolution of Product Innovation and Design. Over the next few weeks, Huub takes us on an intellectual joyride …

The bananaphone, part deux

Kelly Streekstra
March 15th 2018

Feeding our decades old bananaphone kidsplay, Nokia just reintroduced their banana phone. Once again, this shows that Nature is the most successful product of our time. We call this phenomenon Bio-mimic-marketing: using images of nature to market a product. Peculiar image of the week.…

ECO Coin Award Interviews: Ritsert Mans

Jack Caulfield
November 13th 2017
We asked Ritsert Mans, our second ECO coin award nominee about his bike, the technology that fuels it and his hopes for the future.

Hire a Smart Robot

Daniel Fraga
October 25th 2017
What if your co-worker was a robot? Dutch startup Smart Robotics is a job agency for robots that allows you to hire a smart-robot.

From Industry 1.0 to Industry 4.0

Megan Ray Nichols
August 14th 2017
Warehouse management practices and processes evolved with the time, but they’ll need to maintain their adaptability to accommodate Industry 4.0.

Smartphones Will Soon Be a Thing of the Past

Megan Ray Nichols
August 4th 2017
Smartphones have become almost a part of who we are. According to tech industry experts, however, the smartphone's days are numbered and that number is lower than you might expect.
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Emma is in poor health. She has painful varicose veins, stress-related eczema, puffy skin, a grey complexion, red eyes and a hunch-back. She is an imagined office worker of the future — a morbid life-sized doll that forecasts the impact of office work on human evolution. According researchers at Fellowes, if we don’t do something, Emma could resemble most of your colleagues in 20-years time.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=fL5SuzGkUPw

Indeed, Emma embodies the evolutionary impact of our current work culture on the human body. Apparently, our humble office chairs are the biggest culprits - all together we spend an average of eight years of our life sitting down, which will gradually disfigure our bodies and weaken our muscles permanently. Additionally, trading sunlight for artificial light will lead to poor vision and chronic vitamin deficiency. This information may not be new, but being confronted with Emma certainly is.

How can we avoid this fate? Fellowes’ research suggests radical changes to our current ways of working. This means more walk-and-talk meetings, regular breaks, spaces in the office for exercise and relaxation, as well as different types of desks and work spaces that support our bodies.

This hyper-real rendering of a future office protagonist may indeed shock us into action. Emma also serves as a stark reminder of how, as much as we like to think we can use technology to shape the world around us for our needs, technology itself plays an active role in shaping us. How natural is it to sit in an office chair, staring at a computer for eight hours a day?

This story of evolution reveals how intertwined nature and technology can be, how our interactions with the things we make can literally transform our physicality, intervene in our development and influence the ‘natural’ biological processes of our bodies. We can no longer underestimate how, in some cases, we serve technology just as much as it serves us. 

[post_title] => Meet Emma: Your colleague of the future comes with a warning [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => meet-emma-your-colleague-of-the-future-comes-with-a-warning [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-11-07 15:40:49 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-11-07 14:40:49 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=125108 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 82158 [post_author] => 1764 [post_date] => 2019-02-06 11:14:28 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-02-06 10:14:28 [post_content] => The first patent for the electric telephone was granted in 1876 to Alexander Graham Bell. However, there is disagreement about who should be given credit for the invention of the telephone as several pioneering inventors worked on devices to transmit spoken word.[caption id="attachment_82159" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vintage black telephone on white isolated background The candle-stick-phone.[/caption]In the following decades the network systems of landlines were built and use of telephones spread. The first telephones used were simple wooden boxes to which a speaker and mouthpiece were connected. From the initial box designs, the so-called candlestick telephone evolved in the 1890s and became hugely popular. It still consisted of a separate mouthpiece and speaker but got rid of the box. In these days the telephone exchange required manually operated switchboards to make connections. This opened up new job opportunities for women as switchboard operators. The telephone soon proved to be an indispensable tool for trade and fuelled economic development. All in all the telephone and its network system had a large societal impact.
The telephone soon proved to be an indispensable tool for trade, fuelled economic development and had a large societal impact
Increased demand made landline networks evolve from hand-operated switchboards to mechanised pulse networks for which the telephone received a dial. Further increasing demands fuelled development towards tone networks which are operated by push buttons using the 12-digit keypad we still find on smartphones. Again driven by increasing demands, networks evolved to digital transmission.

Connected through the air: Mobile phones

Just like for landlines, the history of mobile phones is intertwined with a series of consecutive network technologies. The first experimental mobile networks developed to circumvent restrictions of landline-based telephones are collectively designated by the name 0G. These 0G networks could only handle few calls and were very expensive.[caption id="attachment_82160" align="alignnone" width="403"]Green apple and old brick style cell phone. The Motorola DynaTAC 8000X.[/caption]The first commercially operated wireless telephone networks are referred to as 1G and used analogue network technologies. These networks are made up of many cells, each with its own base station, which connects to the terrestrial phone network. The base stations allow connections being handed over from one cell to the next. Hence the used devices are also named cell phones. Without this cell network structure mobile phone users would not be able to travel while calling.The first 1G cellular network was launched in 1979 in Japan by the Nippon Telephone and Telegraph (NTT) company. The technology spread and in 1981 Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden received their Nordic Mobile Telephone system. Then in 1983 also in the USA a 1G network became operational using the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X mobile phone. Now referred to as the ‘brick phone’, this first of a kind weighted about 800 grams and was priced close to four thousand dollars or more than three times the average worker’s monthly salary. Nevertheless, because of its novelty soon after introduction there was already a waiting list. The following years Motorola developed into a leading mobile telephone manufacturer.The second generation of wireless telephone networks also referred to as 2G are based on a standard developed in Europe. The protocol used by 2G is based on the Global System for Mobile Communications and simply referred to as GSM. Deployed in Finland in December 1991, 2G was the first digital cellular network.
Short Message Service (SMS) soon became hugely popular and a cash cow for mobile operators around the world
Building on the success of early mobile phones additional text messaging services were developed using the same network technology. This became known as Short Message Service (SMS) and was commercially introduced in 1993 in Finland. SMS did not require any additional infrastructure and soon became hugely popular. This made it a cash cow for mobile operators around the world in the years to follow.The first mass-produced GSM telephone was the Nokia 1011 introduced in 1992. The popularity of the mobile phone opened a huge market and production numbers rose rapidly. Many other companies started producing mobile phones, however Nokia and Motorola dominated the market. The mobile phones later became known as feature phones (to distinguish them from smartphones). Feature phones have been produced in a few typical designs known as candy bar, clamshell and flip phone.
By 2002 the number of mobile phones had outgrown the number of landline phones in use
Feature phones became a huge success. Annual production amounts of feature phone handsets rose to well over hundred million a year by end of the 1990s. By 2002 the amount of mobile phones had outgrown the amount of landline phones in use. The wide availability of mobile phones changed our perception of what it means to ‘keep in touch’.It transpired that mobile phones could be used for other purposes than making phone calls and texting. Mobile banking is an example of a novel type of use for a mobile phone. In the Philippines, SMS has been used to transfer money since 2005. As many people in developing nations do not have access to banking systems, this new service was well received. Besides the cost of using traditional banking services are often too high for the poor effective excluding them. A same service started in 2007 in Kenya and has spread since then across the African continent. It has become known as SMS banking and can be used for various forms of money transfer e.g. like purchases, salary payments or cash redraws without bank offices or ATMs being around. In this way, mobile phone technology has contributed to the economic development and provided many new jobs in developing countries in a similar fashion as landlines did in North America and Europe more than a century earlier.
Mobile phone technology has contributed to economic development and provided lots of new jobs in developing countries
Over the years, users of mobile phones explored new types of use and expectations of our mobile devices rose. The networks also became used as a means to transport digital data next to voice. Again the developments placed increasing demands on mobile networks. In response, a set of new network technologies and standards collectively named 3G were developed. NTT DoCoMo launched this third generation network technology in Japan in 2001. Other countries and network operators soon followed. The availability of this new network standard spurred the development of many new applications like streaming media that required ever more bandwidth. As a result of the growing bandwidth-hunger the telecom industry began looking for ways to optimize network technologies for larger amounts of data. These new standards became known as 4G and are together with 3G in use at time of writing of this article. As the amount of data we use still increases, it is likely that new network technology (which is currently under development) will be made available in the future to cover increased demands. This new standard will then be known as 5G-network technology.
As a result of the growing bandwidth-hunger the telecom industry began looking for ways to optimize network technologies for larger amounts of data

Personal Digital Assistant

In the beginning of the 1980s, advancing technology provided mankind with new devices like the home computer; later was renamed to personal computer, or PC. The decreasing size of electronic components and improving battery technology allowed first experiments with mobile computing devices. An example of this is the Personal Digital Assistant or PDA, a small mobile computing device that was designed to help organizing business life by providing agenda, address books, calculator and memo functionality.[caption id="attachment_82161" align="alignnone" width="347"] The Psion Organiser model 2 from 1986.[/caption]The first PDA to be brought to the market was the Psion Organiser I introduced in 1984. It looked like a desktop calculator with a small display 6 by 6 keyboard and included a plastic sliding cover. The term PDA was first used for the Apple Newton, which was introduced in 1993. The Newton provided stylus to write on the touch screens. Special handwriting recognition software made it possible to transfer scribbles into digital text. Although the Newton was not a huge commercial success, it heralded the transition from mobile devices with full keyboard towards a touch screen and virtual keyboard. A range of competitors brought PDAs to the market of which the PalmPilot is one of the most notable.To synchronize agenda and email with the more elaborate versions of the same applications used on the PC early PDAs connected to the first by cable using the serial port which after some years was ousted by the USB (that was introduced in 1996). Later versions often use Bluetooth and or WiFi as means to synchronize data. Wireless connectivity made it possible that mobile email and Internet access functionality were added to the PDA.

Early hybrids

[caption id="attachment_82162" align="alignnone" width="287"] The Simon Personal Communicator introduced by IBM in 1994.[/caption]The Simon Personal Communicator introduced in 1994 by IBM, was the first mobile phone with touch screen and PDA functionality. It featured 11 built-in typical PDA applications including a calendar, appointment scheduler, to-do list, address book, calculator, world time clock, electronic note pad/sketch pad, handwritten annotations and stylus input screen keyboards. Being the first to combine mobile phone and PDA functionality, the Simon is now also dubbed the first smartphone although that name was not yet used at that time.
The Simon Personal Communicator, which was introduced in 1994 by IBM, is dubbed the first smartphone being the first mobile phone with a touch screen and PDA functionality
[caption id="attachment_82163" align="alignnone" width="640"] The Blackberry RIM 850 introduced in 1999.[/caption]PDAs appeared to be fertile platforms to experiment with hybrid variants. In 1999 Research In Motion (RIM) introduced a PDA annex two-way pager named BlackBerry 850. The device supported email, limited HTML browsing and featured a monochrome screen. From 2002 BlackBerry models featured mobile phone functionality. The BlackBerry still used a physical QWERTY keyboard and became a hit amongst business executives because of its secure email server.

Smartphones

A decade after the Simon Personal Communicator was launched, many mobile electronic devices became available. One of these types was portable audio player for which the Walkman, introduced by Sony in 1979, marked the birth. The first of these devices used analogue tape cassettes, which later evolve towards digital versions using CDs or magnetic discs. Apple cunningly combined available electronic components in the iPod, a first successful mobile audio player using a small hard drive. The iPod became known for its handy user interface and iTunes store that was used to distribute audio and video. Then Apple integrated the iPod, Newton and mobile phone technology in a single device, the iPhone that it introduced in 2007.[caption id="attachment_82164" align="alignnone" width="640"] The first Apple iPhone.[/caption]The first model could only use 2G-network technology and is therefore sometimes referred to as the iPhone 2G. The App Store was not yet available. We now know it was not the first device to combine functionality we now associated with the smartphone. Nevertheless it is now looked upon as the decisive step in the evolution of the smartphone as it was the first to completely do away the fixed keyboard and use a touch screen allowing multiple gesture control on a touch screen and included a camera. Besides, it combined not only basic application like phone, agenda and email but also a range of new applications. The new design with touch screen and the built in many sensors became a sensation and changed industries involved.
Apple integrated the iPod, Newton and mobile phone technology into a single device, which became the iPhone, that was introduced in 2007
Since 3G-network technology became available the increased bandwidth allowed many data hungry mobile applications. Together with increasing computing power and ever more and better sensors this fuelled the amounts of applications available for smartphones, which now appear almost endless. When Apple’s App Store started in 2008 it offered 500 apps. Early 2017 the amount apps featured increased to a stunning 2.2 million. Google opened a same store for its Android OS in 2009 and now features a similar amount of apps.According to research done in 2012 by O2, a mobile telecom operator, the telephone functionality only ranks 5th after Internet browsing, social network use, playing games and listening to music. More recent research by Pew Research Centre (2015) shows a slightly different ranking of typical use of smartphones, but the trend is the same. Types of use we would associate a decade ago with PCs or PDAs are now most common on smartphones. Although we still refer to the device as a (smart)phone, making calls is not among the most frequent types of use anymore. In the meantime PDAs have become obsolete and the feature phone is being ousted by the smartphone. Smartphones have become indispensable tools for many types of communication, access to information, navigation and the functions provides by early PDAs. They have made us busier. However, it is debatable as to whether smartphones have made us more productive.
Although we still refer to the device as a (smart)phone, making calls is no longer one of the most frequent types of use

Mobile computing platform

Being a mobile computing platform, the smartphone heavily relies on its mobile operating system (OS). The OS is an essential part of a computing platform that manages computer hardware and software resources and is thus crucial for a smartphone allowing it to run third-part software. At time of writing Android was installed on nearly 82% of all sold smartphones and iOS on nearly 18%, leaving less than 1% for all other mobile operating systems. Android being provided by Google is an open source system being customised before installation by smartphone vendors like Samsung, Huawei and many others.Also for other mobile devices dedicated operating systems have been developed with Palm OS used on PDAs as a successful example. More recently also ‘smart watches’ have been marketed using a similar OS as smartphones.

Digital socializing

[caption id="attachment_82165" align="alignnone" width="640"]Social Network Flat Icons With Mobile Telephone Vector, Illustration The smartphone has become the platform of choice for social networking.[/caption]Smartphones together with the related tablets, have has become our favourite mobile device for accessing Internet. Social networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn become heavily depending on their mobile access. Presence of high quality digital cameras on smartphones makes them the device of choice to use for interacting on social networks. In recent years Internet has contributed to changing social norms. Online dating has become commonplace and Tinder, a popular app launched in 2012 used to swipe through profiles on smartphone screens, had already over a million paid users in 2016 and at least an order of magnitude more unpaid accounts. With Tinder swiping left become the new normal for rejecting potential dates.
Smartphones have become addictive devices
Although it is known that the blue light produced by smartphone or computer screens makes it more difficult to fall asleep it is not uncommon for smartphones to be used in bed. During dinner and other social activities the use of smartphones is considered undesirable and stirs many discussions. And in traffic it is a known cause of accidents, unfortunately also with deadly consequences. Being social animals with a congenital urge to keep in touch with others, we must face that the smartphones have become addictive devices.Smartphones have become the platform of choice for many types of applications. What initially was regarded as a mobile phone with additional functionality has become more of a personal communication and computing hub. Just as it was hard to imagine two decades ago how we now use this device, it will be hard to imagine what will become of it in another two decades. Further increasing computing power and new technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), augmented- and virtual reality will probably fuel new application areas. As logic consequence types of use will continue to change in the future. It is obvious the evolution of smartphone has not by far come to a standstill. Socializing is set to continue to change. [caption id="attachment_82166" align="alignnone" width="640"] Timeline of the evolution from early telephone to smartphone.[/caption]
The evolution of smartphone has in no way come to a standstill yet and socializing will continue to change

On the origin of the smartphone

The smartphone could not have been invented if the mobile phone and the personal digital assistant had not been around before. These earlier products and other enabling technologies were conditional for the smartphone to emerge.Once the smartphone took off, it further evolved towards a personal communication and computing hub. The phone functionality moved to the background and new forms of socializing took command. Our desire to socialize is innate and surely not an effect of new technologies, rather a cause for their further development. It is therefore clear that the origin of the smartphone is not a self-contained and sudden invention. Earlier products and influences from the environment play a crucial role in the evolution of products as is shown here in the case of the smartphone.On the Origin of Products‘ is published by Cambridge University Press and co-authored by NNN member Huub Ehlhardt. Over the past few weeks, Huub took us on a intellectual joyride on the origins of the word processor, e-bike, LED lamp, and smartphone. [post_title] => On the Origin of the Smartphone [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => on-the-origin-of-the-smartphone-2 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-02-07 15:54:02 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-02-07 14:54:02 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=82158 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 90867 [post_author] => 1764 [post_date] => 2019-01-12 12:00:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-01-12 11:00:00 [post_content] =>

For thousands of years people used oil lamps and candles to illuminate their homes during the hours of darkness. Neither produced much light and both were inconvenient in use as their fuel needed to be regularly replenished. Besides that, open fire is notoriously dangerous. Then, at the start of the 19th century, gas lamps fueled by coal-gas distributed by a network of pipes turned out to be an innovative solution for the problem of illuminating the streets of European cities. Gas lamps became a huge success, but also continued to be dangerous because of their open fire and toxic fumes. Numerous theaters illuminated by gas lamp burned down, killing many. The world longed for a safer type of light!

Gas lamps became a huge success, but also continued to be dangerous because of their open fire and toxic fumes

Gas lamp used for street lighting

How a dead frog led to electric light
Progress sometimes comes about as a result of bizarre experiments. That was surely the case with the Italian, Luigi Galvani, who once touched the leg of a dismembered dead frog with a metal object. The frog leg kicked as if alive. This drew people’s attention to the phenomenon of electricity. Alessandro Volta, also Italian, continued experiments in the hope of understanding the phenomenon and developed the first ever battery. This provided the first practical source of electricity, which was then used by David Humphrey for more electrifying experiments. He took huge numbers of batteries and a platinum strip and passed an electric current through it until it illuminated light. And there it was, electric light by incandescence!

No fewer than 19 inventors claimed patents on incandescent lamps before Swan and Edison

A second experiment that produced light used an arc between two carbon rods. The electric arc made it to a first commercialized version of electric light, known as the arc lamp. However, it was not ideal. The lamp produced an intense light that could not be dimmed. What is more, it still produced unpleasant fumes and the rods needed to be replaced regularly.

Incandescent light lit up the worlds electricity use
Decades of pioneering experiments finally delivered incandescent lamps. In 1879 two different inventors on both sides of the North Atlantic claimed a patent for a first incandescent lamp using thin carbon wires that lit up and glowed when sufficient electricity was conducted through them. The inventors in question were Joseph Swan in the UK and Thomas Alva Edison in the USA. They were by no means the first to experiment with these lamps. No fewer than 19 inventors claimed patents on incandescent lamps before Swan and Edison. However, all these pioneering predecessors failed to commercialize their inventions.

The first incandescent lamp by Swan

The incandescent lamp was the first large-scale application of electricity. Obviously this requires power stations to generate and networks to distribute the electricity. In the early days, dual current (DC) dominated and only short distances could be covered between the power station and point of use. At that point in time there was not yet any voltage standard in networks. It was only when networks started using alternating current (AC) that they could cover larger distances and the need arose to use same voltages in coupled AC networks. From that point on the world became divided into 110 Volt and 220 Volt networks, something that has not changed since.

The incandescent lamp was the first large-scale application of electricity

The incandescent lamp was a huge success. The first types with carbon filaments could only be used for about 40 hours. This meant that lamps had to be replaced quite often. As a result a major industry arose for the production of incandescent lamps. These new industrial companies started to employ inventors that experimented with all kinds of materials and constructions with the aim being to increase the lamp’s life. Once it had become clear how tungsten could be processed into ductile filaments, the lifespan of the incandescent lamp improved to approximately a thousand hours. However it still had to be regularly replaced, usually once a year, and the screw base interface was therefore designed and became a standard we still use today. The lamp that evolved in this way became known as the general lighting solution or GLS and continued to be the preferred type of electric light for consumers for almost a century.

The lamp that evolved became known as the general lighting solution or GLS

The origin of your cold office lights: Gas discharge 
Inventors in the mid 19th century discovered that light could be produced by making gas discharge into a glass tube. The process resembles the flash produced by lightning but than on a much smaller scale and in a contained and non-dangerous form. Again, decades of experimenting and some primitive applications were necessary before the elements needed for what became known as the tube lamp (TL) were ready in the early 1930s. Then World War II started and the greater illumination provided by the TLs was welcomed by the wartime manufacturing industry. The volume of TLs used quickly went up. Consumers in Europe and North America, who were used to the warm light of the GLS incandescent lamps, were not keen on lots of cold TL light in their houses. However, in regions where consumers had not yet grown used to incandescent light, the reception was much more positive and TLs swiftly became widely used.

How environmentalism inspired product evolution
Looming disaster proclaimed in ‘The limits to growth’, which was published in 1972 by a think tank named the Club of Rome, kick-started environmentalism. It changed the perspective of many towards the viability of the earth and the availability of natural resources. A year later the first oil crisis also demonstrated how access to oil could suddenly become a problem and people started to realize that it would be beneficial if we could reduce our energy consumption. As a result of these changing circumstances governments started stimulating research into more efficient types of lighting.

The changed perspective towards the viability of the earth and the availability of natural resources prompted governments to stimulate research into more efficient types of lighting

Then, once again, in the same year (1976) and on both sides of the Atlantic, a new type of electric lamp was patented. This time it was the Compact Fluorescent Lamps or CFL. Laboratories of both Philips based in the Netherlands and GE in the United States developed a more conveniently shaped version of the TL with the screw base so that it could be used in the same sockets that, until then, had only accommodated GLS incandescent lamps.

The first Compact Fluorescent Lamp or CFL introduced by Philips in 1981

Initially only Philips commercialised the lamp that was introduced to the market in 1981. This first CFL weighed over half a kilogram and was so bulky it did not fit into many lampshades. Besides its pale light, it also flickered annoyingly during the three minutes it took to heat up and it was expensive. So it was no surprise that people did not really embrace this new lamp.

CFLs had become a viable alternative to the GLS incandescent lamps as a measure to reduce energy consumption to avert climate change

Thanks to lots of development and the ever-shrinking size of electrical components a second generation CFLs was introduced in the 1990s. This second generation became more efficient, more compact and eradicated the flickering. However, it took a second wave of environmentalism for CFLs to become more popular. This time the root cause was global warming induced by greenhouse gases that was discussed in the 1997 Kyoto protocol. Now governments were urged to take measures to reduce energy consumption to avert climate change. The much improved second generation CFLs had become a viable alternative to the GLS incandescent lamps and policymakers recognized the opportunity presented by this energy-efficient alternative. In short, this led to the banning and phasing out of the GLS incandescent lamp over a decade later. In the meantime an even better alternative became available.

The unanticipated better alternative: LED 
The semiconductor industry that emerged at the end of the 1950s gave us more than computer chips. The technology that provides microscopic magic on silicon wafers is also used to make what is called Light Emitting Diodes or LEDs. Officially the family of lighting technology of which the LED is part is called Solid State Lighting (SSL). The first well-known applications of LEDs were the tiny red indicators used on many electronic devices and the LED matrix displays on early desktop calculators. As is common in many fields of technology, initial applications are confined to a narrow set of not so demanding applications. Then, over time, development efforts by armies of scientists and engineers produce much-improved versions of the young technology, allowing it to spread to more demanding applications. The same happened to LED.

The HUE LED lamp that can be controlled via smartphone or tablet

When legislators drafted their plans to phase out the GLS incandescent lamp, they could not yet bank on the availability of the LED lamp. Hence, legislation trusted that the CFL could do the job. However, by the time the GLS incandescent phase-out legislation came into force between 2007 and 2012, the LED bulb had already entered the stage.

When legislators drafted their plans to phase out the GLS incandescent lamp, they could not yet bank on the availability of the LED lamp

Philips first introduced a 60W incandescent GLS equivalent LED bulb in 2009, to replace the old workhorse. At that time the LED bulb was still much more expensive than the CFL, but prices quickly eroded. The first LED bulbs on the market only produced a single light colour and were operated in the same way as traditional GLS incandescent lamps using on-off switches. Only a few years later, in 2012, Philips again introduced an amazing novelty, namely LED lamps that could produce millions of colours, change intensity and were ‘connected’ to the Internet of Things (IoT).

These new lamps can be controlled wireless using a smartphone, even if the user is a long way from home. What is more, apps can be programmed to change light intensity or color in many conditions, thereby expanding the number of possible uses. The incandescent lamp was the killer application of the electrification and now its final successor was set to become the first large-scale IoT application.

LED: the recipe for our future? 
It looks like the LED lamp is the future. Sockets left empty by incandescent lamps skip the CFL and are filled by LED bulbs. Illuminating large surfaces was once the domain of TLs. Now an LED-based alternative is being marketed for TL sockets as well.

The retrofit LED lamp seems to be much better positioned than the CFL to meet consumer desires and needs

The CFL was not very in tune with consumer tastes and, therefore, it could not oust the GLS incandescent lamp on its own merits. The retrofit LED lamp seems to be much better positioned to meet consumer desires and needs. How lamps will evolve in future will remain the topic of debate for some time to come. However, the retrofit use of screw based socket LED bulbs might not last forever. After all, what use is a screw base socket if the lamps are replaced 20 to 50 times less than was common for GLS incandescent lamps?

On the origin of the LED lamp
The LED lamp was made possible by advances in technology that provided LEDs and microelectronics. The available infrastructure of screw base sockets combined with the imminent phase out of the GLS incandescent lamps then provided the conditions for the LED lamp to emerge.

Timeline of the evolution from early gas lamp to LED lamp

The evolution of products like the LED lamp cannot be understood if described in technological terms only. A more comprehensive picture is provided by a description of the factors that influence the emergence and subsequent evolution of these products. In this case societal change created awareness amongst the general public that behavioral changes were needed to avert climate disaster. Policymakers provided legislation that enforced the phase-out of the GLS incandescent lamp, to the benefit of more energy-efficient alternatives. All in all these contextual factors appear to be part and parcel of the evolution of the LED lamp.

On the Origin of Products‘ is published by Cambridge University Press and co-authored by NNN member Huub Ehlhardt. Over the next few weeks, Huub takes us on a intellectual joyride on the origins of the word processor, e-bike, LED lamp, and smartphone. Stay tuned!

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On January 17 1803, a young man named George Forster was hanged for murder at Newgate prison in London. After his execution, as often happened, his body was carried ceremoniously across the city to the Royal College of Surgeons, where it would be publicly dissected. What actually happened was rather more shocking than simple dissection though. Forster was going to be electrified.

The experiments were to be carried out by the Italian natural philosopher Giovanni Aldini, the nephew of Luigi Galvani, who discovered “animal electricity” in 1780, and for whom the field of galvanism is named. With Forster on the slab before him, Aldini and his assistants started to experiment. The Times newspaper reported:

"On the first application of the process to the face, the jaw of the deceased criminal began to quiver, the adjoining muscles were horribly contorted, and one eye was actually opened. In the subsequent part of the process, the right hand was raised and clenched, and the legs and thighs were set in motion."

It looked to some spectators “as if the wretched man was on the eve of being restored to life.”

By the time Aldini was experimenting on Forster the idea that there was some peculiarly intimate relationship between electricity and the processes of life was at least a century old. Isaac Newton speculated along such lines in the early 1700s. In 1730, the English astronomer and dyer Stephen Gray demonstrated the principle of electrical conductivity. Gray suspended an orphan boy on silk cords in mid air, and placed a positively charged tube near the boy’s feet, creating a negative charge in them. Due to his electrical isolation, this created a positive charge in the child’s other extremities, causing a nearby dish of gold leaf to be attracted to his fingers.

In France in 1746 Jean Antoine Nollet entertained the court at Versailles by causing a company of 180 royal guardsmen to jump simultaneously when the charge from a Leyden jar (an electrical storage device) passed through their bodies.

It was to defend his uncle’s theories against the attacks of opponents such as Alessandro Volta that Aldini carried out his experiments on Forster. Volta claimed that “animal” electricity was produced by the contact of metals rather than being a property of living tissue, but there were several other natural philosophers who took up Galvani’s ideas with enthusiasm. Alexander von Humboldt experimented with batteries made entirely from animal tissue. Johannes Ritter even carried out electrical experiments on himself to explore how electricity affected the sensations.

The idea that electricity really was the stuff of life and that it might be used to bring back the dead was certainly a familiar one in the kinds of circles in which the young Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley – the author of Frankenstein – moved. The English poet, and family friend, Samuel Taylor Coleridge was fascinated by the connections between electricity and life.

Writing to his friend the chemist Humphry Davy after hearing that he was giving lectures at the Royal Institution in London, he told him how his “motive muscles tingled and contracted at the news, as if you had bared them and were zincifying the life-mocking fibres.” Percy Bysshe Shelley himself – who would become Wollstonecraft’s husband in 1816 – was another enthusiast for galvanic experimentation.

Vital knowledge

Aldini’s experiments with the dead attracted considerable attention. Some commentators poked fun at the idea that electricity could restore life, laughing at the thought that Aldini could “make dead people cut droll capers.” Others took the idea very seriously. Lecturer Charles Wilkinson, who assisted Aldini in his experiments, argued that galvanism was “an energising principle, which forms the line of distinction between matter and spirit, constituting in the great chain of the creation, the intervening link between corporeal substance and the essence of vitality.”

In 1814 the English surgeon John Abernethy made much the same sort of claim in the annual Hunterian lecture at the Royal College of Surgeons. His lecture sparked a violent debate with fellow surgeon William Lawrence. Abernethy claimed that electricity was (or was like) the vital force while Lawrence denied that there was any need to invoke a vital force at all to explain the processes of life. Both Mary and Percy Shelley certainly knew about this debate – Lawrence was their doctor.

By the time Frankenstein was published in 1818, its readers would have been familiar with the notion that life could be created or restored with electricity. Just a few months after the book appeared, the Scottish chemist Andrew Ure carried out his own electrical experiments on the body of Matthew Clydesdale, who had been executed for murder. When the dead man was electrified, Ure wrote, “every muscle in his countenance was simultaneously thrown into fearful action; rage, horror, despair, anguish, and ghastly smiles, united their hideous expression in the murderer’s face.”

Ure reported that the experiments were so gruesome that “several of the spectators were forced to leave the apartment, and one gentleman fainted.” It is tempting to speculate about the degree to which Ure had Mary Shelley’s recent novel in mind as he carried out his experiments. His own account of them was certainly quite deliberately written to highlight their more lurid elements.

Frankenstein might look like fantasy to modern eyes, but to its author and original readers there was nothing fantastic about it. Just as everyone knows about artificial intelligence now, so Shelley’s readers knew about the possibilities of electrical life. And just as artificial intelligence (AI) invokes a range of responses and arguments now, so did the prospect of electrical life – and Shelley’s novel – then.

The science behind Frankenstein reminds us that current debates have a long history – and that in many ways the terms of our debates now are determined by it. It was during the 19th century that people started thinking about the future as a different country, made out of science and technology. Novels such as Frankenstein, in which authors made their future out of the ingredients of their present, were an important element in that new way of thinking about tomorrow.

Thinking about the science that made Frankenstein seem so real in 1818 might help us consider more carefully the ways we think now about the possibilities – and the dangers – of our present futures.

Iwan Morus, Professor of History, Aberystwyth University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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"To understand why a product is the way it is today, you need to learn about its evolutionary background." Meet Huub Ehlhardt, an engineer with a PhD in product design. Huub believes that innovation is best not described as a sequence of disruptive inventions, but as a gradual evolution of products. Together with Arthur Eger, he wrote On the Origin of Products; The Evolution of Product Innovation and Design. Over the next few weeks, Huub takes us on an intellectual joyride on the origins of the word processor, LED lamp, e-bike and smartphone. Kicking off the series, we sat down with Huub to learn what he's all about.

The evolution of this book

“Publishing and writing this book became a life-mission and hobbythat has gotten way out of hand,” Huub explains. More than enthusiastic, he tells me about the evolution of his own product, this book.

“I used to doubt between studying biology and technical engineering. In the end, I got to combine them. Long after I had written my first essay on evolutionary patterns I saw in technological developments, I got to meet professor Arthur Eger and soon started my PhD with him. By then, Arthur had written his dissertation about the same idea; our two dissertations combined became the basis of this book. Many of our students contributed to the work as well.”

An evolutionary 'tree of products'

"First we had candle light, then the incandescent light, next the energy-saving Compact Fluorescent Lamp or CFL, and now the LED lamp." Huub shows me the carefully crafted figures in his book, filled with mad-induced evolutionary 'trees of technology'. “Seeing this pattern of evolutionary development within the history of products, allows us to gain a more holistic view of innovation."

“People often think innovation needs to be disruptive and radical to be any good, suggesting that every invention should be entirely new and special. I think this is a fallacy. Innovation is way more nuanced.”

"We follow the tree branches of technological descent down to their roots, from the highest complexities we see around us nowadays, to the simplicity of early human tools. At some points in the trees, branches sprout, this is where a disruptive new technology emerged, upon which many others were built, like the high variety of products that came after we discovered and enabled electricity, or the world wide web. A speciation event of technology, one might say.”

Genes for biology, memes for technology

Information travels through the biological trees of life (similar to the one Darwin drew many years ago) stored in our genetics, our DNA. How does that work for technology?

“In biology, you have genes that contain masses of stored information. In technology, you don’t have genes but knowledge. I recognize two types of knowledge: the 'know-how', the knowledge of how to make something, and the 'know-what', the knowledge of functionality, the ‘why’ you make your design. This knowledge accumulates over time and manifests in a product.”

“Darwin, at the time of writing his book ‘On the Origin of Species’, had no idea there was such a thing as DNA or genetics; he showed that knowledge of this small carrier of biological information is not needed to get a good sense of the patterns of evolution. Nowadays we also don’t have a clear idea of the smallest ‘carrier’ of our knowledge within technology.”

Today, if we would try to approach an understanding of this carrier, the term ‘memetics’ comes to mind.

“Richard Dawkins, the English evolutionary biologist, brought the idea of memes into the world as a sidetrack of his book ‘The Selfish Gene’. The concept of the meme as a unit of knowledge, information and ideas has become a widely used term. However, it did not lead to scientific breakthrough, as we cannot measure this unit of information yet."

On reproduction, extinction and niches

“Memes live in the minds of the people, in books, in photos. They’re in that sense not inextricably connected to products, like genes are tied to organisms. It is therefore hard for product-species to go extinct: as long as memories of the products exist, you can reproduce them - unlike in biology, where you need the species to be alive to reproduce.”

Memes are traveling further and faster as global communication has flourished over the last few decades. “This ever faster spread of information is probably responsible for increasing the speed of evolution of products across the globe, but it also made certain products more uniform across the world. Nevertheless, I think the variety in cultures will keep causing differences in the products. You’ll find large cars in America where towns were laid out for cars, and small cars in the centuries old cities of Europe that have more narrow roads, and moreover, levy more tax on fuel.”

The Darwin of products?

Combining biology and technology is most strongly articulated in the title of the publication, a clear nod towards Darwin’s revolutionary book 'On the Origin of Species'. “The title of the book was more of a joke to us in the long list of titles we send to the publisher. But they immediately went for it.”

After publishing the book, Huub was eager to make sure the knowledge wouldn’t remain within the pages. “A dream of mine is to spark a new educational system around this perspective. A question would be, if we can find a way to minimize negative technologies and simulate positive technologies through the lens of it - I sure hope so.”

“I hope that through reading these stories, people will gain a fascination for technological evolution. Technology and society adapt to each other continuously. Technological development manifests itself more as gradual evolution, not a sequence of brilliant discoveries of genius inventors, but an interaction of the environment, ideas, many people, and a rich evolution that builds on previous developments.”

'On the Origin of Products' is published by Cambridge University Press and co-authored by NNN member Huub Ehlhardt. Over the next few weeks, Huub takes us on a intellectual joyride on the origins of the word processor, LED lamp, e-bike and smartphone. Stay tuned!

Cover art by Cyanne van den Houten.

[post_title] => Interview: Huub Ehlhardt on the evolution of products [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => interview-huub-ehlhardt-on-the-origin-of-products-2 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-12-07 13:15:34 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-12-07 12:15:34 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=91126 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 80872 [post_author] => 1510 [post_date] => 2018-03-15 09:00:55 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-03-15 08:00:55 [post_content] => Feeding our decades old bananaphone kidsplay, Nokia just reintroduced their banana phone. Once again, this shows that Nature is the most successful product of our time. We call this phenomenon Bio-mimic-marketing: using images of nature to market a product. Peculiar image of the week. [post_title] => The bananaphone, part deux [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => banana [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-03-16 09:43:23 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-03-16 08:43:23 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=80872 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 78526 [post_author] => 1425 [post_date] => 2017-11-13 13:22:02 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-11-13 11:22:02 [post_content] => The world is changing and it’s important that we evolve with it. The ECO Coin Award is our way of recognizing innovations and initiatives which help us adapt to our next nature. The nominees are all aiming to create a more humane and sustainable future for us all. Now, in the lead-up to the announcement of this year’s winner, we’re interviewing each of the three finalists to learn about their values, insights and visions for the future. This week, we spoke to Ritsert Mans, Dutch designer nominated in recognition of his unique creation: a wooden motorcycle running on algae oil.Mans’ bike was designed as a way of showing off the innovative work of his associate, Peter Mooij, who is also nominated for the prize. Mooij created a new fuel out of a particularly durable species of algae, which he and Mans believe to be a sustainable energy source for the future. But to show off the oil, Mans was not content with using a conventional vehicle. Returning to traditional materials like wood, cork and hemp, he wanted to show that the future can look organic too.In the Q&A below, we asked Mans about his unique design and the algae oil it is meant to promote. Read on and see!How does the motorcycle work? Are there elements of the design that you have to be careful about when working with wood rather than plastic or metal?The choice of a motorbike was easy; it is the most pure and simple form to go from an engine to a source of transport - just add a frame and two wheels. The main design challenge I set myself was to make a bike with a high-tech layout (single sided swing arms) and an all-natural frame. For every part of the bike I searched for solutions and materials provided by nature.
For every part of the bike I searched for solutions provided by nature
Nearly every modern high-tech product uses composite materials. Nature has its own natural composite: wood. Wood has fibers pointing in one direction, and with that direction you can steer the flexibility and stiffness. With that ability and the use of cork and hemp, I built a suspended frame. Wood is actually a really strong material; the connections are the crucial points. Luckily wood can be steam-bent so you need fewer connections.Besides the materials, the design was very important for me. The overall goal was to let the power of nature and the algae speak, so that the bike should look dynamic. Besides dynamics, it is also built with the ambiance of the early 20th century in mind - back when they also tested all fast machines on the beach. The engine is dead simple and not very different from 100 years ago. Cool to know that the first diesel engine Rudolf Diesel designed in 1892 ran on peanut oil.You claim to approach design from an intuitive perspective. How does this organic approach impact your work and creations?Although I studied industrial design engineering, I found out that for me the only way to create is to follow my intuition. I go straight from an idea to the workshop and start building. Of course, this way you are a little unsure of the result, and you will definitely come across some problems. But for me the power of this process is the unknown result. That unknown keeps me motivated and focused.
We will need some kind of oil source for the coming 100 years
Of course, simulation software, modeling and rating lists help designers a lot, but for innovation’s sake I think it is sometimes also good to pick the difficult or unpractical solution. It is not such a bad thing to fail from time to time.The motorcycle runs on, and is designed to show off, Peter Mooij's algae oil. Can you tell us more about this fuel? How do you see its potential future applications?Peter used natural evolution (the survival of the fittest) to let the algae design themselves. The result is strong algae that makes it more workable to go large scale and grow algae in the sea. Just like any other vegetable oil the algae use CO2 and convert it into O2. The big advantage of algae is their ability to grow in salt water. That ability allows algae to avoid competing for food sources as much as other vegetable oils that use sweet water and land.I think for transport, electricity will cover a considerable part, but I'm also pretty sure we will need some kind of oil source for the coming 100 years and I would love to stop pumping it out of the earth. Besides that, I think we shouldn't focus on only one new source of energy, but innovate in all directions.[caption id="attachment_78528" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Mans and Mooij testing the algae powered wooden bike[/caption]Your motorcycle is a fascinating object, combining traditional materials like wood and hemp with modern design. Do you consider it more an experiment or a technology that can potentially be applied widely?For me it was a challenge and a fascinating adventure. I really would love to create more with the experience and materials of this project - perhaps another bike - but that was not the goal. The most important message is perhaps the way we see the future. For me a sustainable future should not be about following new rules. We really don't know how our world will look in 30 years, but if we see it as an adventure it can be really interesting and exciting!Besides that, it’s clear that the bike isn’t a practical concept for future commuting transport: you get, dirty, wet, and might get killed if you crash. But it does appeal to me and I hope also to a big crowd.
For me a sustainable future should not be about following new rules
Do you have any other projects planned? Are you continuing to work with Peter Mooij on showcasing the algae oil?I'm always working on projects, and once in a while Peter and I find a project on which we can collaborate. We are not focused exclusively on algae oil, but we are working and searching for new challenges in sustainable development.You're nominated for the ECO Coin award, which celebrates innovations in sustainability. How do you feel your work fits in with broader sustainability efforts?I'm really excited about all the innovations at the moment. I feel that a lot of people are willing to contribute and work towards change. At the same time, I think that we should not forget to look at what makes people smile and I really hope this project contributed towards that. [post_title] => ECO Coin Award Interviews: Ritsert Mans [post_excerpt] => We asked Ritsert Mans, our second ECO coin award nominee about his bike, the technology that fuels it and his hopes for the future. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => eco-coin-award-ritsert-mans-peter-mooij [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-16 14:01:01 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-16 12:01:01 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=78526/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 77223 [post_author] => 859 [post_date] => 2017-10-25 06:03:32 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-10-25 04:03:32 [post_content] => What if your co-worker was a robot? Dutch startup Smart Robotics is a job agency for robots that allows you to hire a smart machine. This new species can learn a variety of tasks and be configured to your needs. Ready to get working?

Robotic employees

Based in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, Smart Robotics offers innovative solutions for the workplace. It's an "employment agency for robots", as strange as this may sound. They provide robots as flexible, temporary workers; machines that can be programmed to perform specific tasks.The flexibility and smartness of these devices is what sets them apart from regular robots. They can be reconfigured and put to different uses over time. Also, through 3D cameras and advanced sensor technologies, they can navigate and adapt to the environment. Furthermore, their smart software gives them the ability to learn from their mistakes and optimize their performances - just like humans would. The company also provides frequent software updates, so that your robot can stay up to date with the latest advancements to guarantee optimal service.Another notable feature is that these robots are modular. This means their shape, components and features can be set up according to what is required. Adaptability and flexibility seem to be the most important aspects of Smart Robotics' designs.[caption id="attachment_77228" align="aligncenter" width="640"] The founders of Smart Robotics, Mark Menting and Heico Sandee.[/caption]This new kind of "worker" can operate in many different areas, such as assembly line work, product sorting, order picking - and whatever else you may want to program them to do. You can also decide to hire them by the hour to help with particular tasks in busy times for your company.

A new species in town: friend or foe?

Smart Robotics creates automated workplace solutions that can cooperate with humans. Their self-reliance and continuous adaptability bring them a step beyond mere robots - towards what can effectively be called a temporary worker. Below you can see a short video demonstration of the machine operating.[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3nVBcMr5DBg[/youtube]Many claim that workplace automation is a recipe for disaster. And, in truth, it could have its downsides, like unemployment and labour uncertainty. The job market reached a touring point and change can also mean opportunity. What could the positive aspects of this upcoming robotic revolution be? How can these smart-robots make life better?Smart Robotics sheds light on the idea that these new robots can work like a new species. They can co-exist and cooperate with humans as friends, and allow us to reach previously unknown goals. Rather than tools that can make us obsolete, why not think of the smart-robot as a being with an end in itself?

Forward, not backward!

When humans domesticated horses, both species prospered. Horses were protected and multiplied. Humans gained the ability to travel across tens of thousands of miles in their lifetimes. Before our inter-species cooperation, this was not possible. Could we create a similar relationship with smart robots? What kind of future this symbiosis may bring?Robotization does not have to be only understood negatively. We must override its more dangerous aspects with new possibilities. By moving forward, we can find new opportunities in automation. Instead of being victims of a future that is yet to come, why don't we create it? Are your ready to work with a robot?Featured image: Ise Mag______________________________This article is part of the "HUBOT weeks" to contextualize our latest project HUBOT, the job agency for people and robots. Want to learn more about this project? Join NNN and we will keep you posted! [mc4wp_form id="72385"] [post_title] => Hire a Smart Robot [post_excerpt] => What if your co-worker was a robot? Dutch startup Smart Robotics is a job agency for robots that allows you to hire a smart-robot. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => hire-smart-robot [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-04-18 10:40:40 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-04-18 09:40:40 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=77223/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 76734 [post_author] => 872 [post_date] => 2017-08-14 10:00:22 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-14 08:00:22 [post_content] => The modern warehouse has come a long way since its earliest iterations at the beginning of the industrial revolution, where massive storage facilities were needed to accommodate the mechanically produced goods of the era. While warehouse management practices and processes have evolved with the time, they’ll need to maintain their adaptability and versatility to accommodate the onset of Industry 4.0.

Looking Back at Industry 2.0

While Industry 1.0 introduced the concept of mechanical mass production to the world, it was Industry 2.0 that utilized the appropriate allocation of resources, such as manual labor. This new wave of functionality was spurred on by the use of electricity, which made operations far more efficient than the steam and water-driven hardware originally in use.

Succeeding in Industry 3.0

The third industrial revolution gained traction in the 21st century along with high-speed Internet access, mobile connectivity and renewable energy. Also known as Industry 3.0, this is a time that is full of creativity, innovation and ingenuity. Warehouses now offer more services than ever before, some of which are completely beyond the realm of inventory control and shipping logistics. Just like the revolutionary phases before it, however, Industry 3.0 is quickly giving way to the future and Industry 4.0.

Preparing for Industry 4.0

Now that we’re several years into the 21st century, manufacturers are looking at ways to streamline production, boost productivity and achieve greater profitability. They’re doing this by re-examining their storage methods and using new hardware to meet their needs. To satisfy supply chain demands, a distribution center must be able to efficiently manage stored items. Industrial automation, a trend that started with Industry 3.0, is expected to continue and gain even more momentum as we enter into Industry 4.0. The incorporation of the industrial Internet of Things is set to change the landscape and better control the automation process.

Considering Future Technologies

While the future of Industry 4.0 is bright enough on its own, there are numerous outside influences that could play a role in the future of warehousing. The prevalence of aerial drones, which are often used to survey job-sites from the air, can help with site location and possibly even transportation and shipping. Other technologies, such as 3D printing, can minimize the amount of necessary warehouse space by offering on-demand parts whenever they’re needed. One thing for certain, warehouses must adapt to new technologies to stay relevant, or risk going extinct.Image by Axisadman (Own work) CC BY-SA 3.0 and GFDL [post_title] => From Industry 1.0 to Industry 4.0 [post_excerpt] => Warehouse management practices and processes evolved with the time, but they’ll need to maintain their adaptability to accommodate Industry 4.0. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => industry-4-0 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-12-28 22:07:49 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-12-28 21:07:49 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=76734/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 76710 [post_author] => 872 [post_date] => 2017-08-04 07:00:39 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-04 05:00:39 [post_content] => For many people it’s hard to imagine going a day without a smartphone. We use them for everything: talking to friends, browsing the Internet, playing games, tracking fitness goals and much more. They’ve become almost a part of who we areAccording to tech industry experts, however, the smartphone's days are numbered and that number is lower than you might expect.

Today’s Emerging Competition

While the smartphone is still the most popular personal device available today, more and more competition is entering the market. Wearables are one challenger. Smartwatches, more or less a smartphone you wear on your wrist, were recently introduced. Wearable fitness trackers, such as Fitbit, have become quite popular.In our houses, virtual personal assistants are taking the place of smartphones. Now, instead of searching a question on your phone, you can just ask Amazon’s Alexa or Microsoft’s Cortana by voicing it to your smart home speaker. These devices can also control other smart home features, such as thermostats and lighting.

Beyond the Screen

Smart home speakers are able to control things like your refrigerator or central air because they’re all connected via the Internet of Things (IoT). This virtual web of Internet-connected devices lets them all talk to each other and work together. Soon, the eSIM - a virtual SIM card - is expected to connect all your devices. This would make navigating a tech landscape without a smartphone easier and seamless.Virtual reality will play a role too. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg recently told attendees of the F8 conference about the company’s plans to incorporate augmented reality into its business model. You wouldn’t need any sort of screen, Zuckerberg said, if you have a pair of stylish VR glasses that can, in effect, turn any surface into a screen.Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk took that idea a step further by investing in Neuralink - a startup developing a computer that can be implanted directly into your brain. Musk said this technology will be available in four to five years. We'll be able to control the computer with your mind, allowing us to keep up with AIs, at least for the next 10 to 20 years. In Musk’s future we won’t need smartphones, because, well, we’ll be the smartphones. [post_title] => Smartphones Will Soon Be a Thing of the Past [post_excerpt] => Smartphones have become almost a part of who we are. According to tech industry experts, however, the smartphone's days are numbered and that number is lower than you might expect. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => smartphone-almost-outdated-technology [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-12 17:12:27 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-12 15:12:27 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=76710/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 ))[post_count] => 10 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 125108 [post_author] => 2194 [post_date] => 2019-10-29 12:43:03 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-10-29 11:43:03 [post_content] =>

Emma is in poor health. She has painful varicose veins, stress-related eczema, puffy skin, a grey complexion, red eyes and a hunch-back. She is an imagined office worker of the future — a morbid life-sized doll that forecasts the impact of office work on human evolution. According researchers at Fellowes, if we don’t do something, Emma could resemble most of your colleagues in 20-years time.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=fL5SuzGkUPw

Indeed, Emma embodies the evolutionary impact of our current work culture on the human body. Apparently, our humble office chairs are the biggest culprits - all together we spend an average of eight years of our life sitting down, which will gradually disfigure our bodies and weaken our muscles permanently. Additionally, trading sunlight for artificial light will lead to poor vision and chronic vitamin deficiency. This information may not be new, but being confronted with Emma certainly is.

How can we avoid this fate? Fellowes’ research suggests radical changes to our current ways of working. This means more walk-and-talk meetings, regular breaks, spaces in the office for exercise and relaxation, as well as different types of desks and work spaces that support our bodies.

This hyper-real rendering of a future office protagonist may indeed shock us into action. Emma also serves as a stark reminder of how, as much as we like to think we can use technology to shape the world around us for our needs, technology itself plays an active role in shaping us. How natural is it to sit in an office chair, staring at a computer for eight hours a day?

This story of evolution reveals how intertwined nature and technology can be, how our interactions with the things we make can literally transform our physicality, intervene in our development and influence the ‘natural’ biological processes of our bodies. We can no longer underestimate how, in some cases, we serve technology just as much as it serves us. 

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